As you all know by now, Obama and McCain are on stage together tonight at what is billed as a "faith forum." Look, I'm a Methodist, and the fact that the two major candidates are addressing their personal religious beliefs in their very first pseudo-debate irks me. I have little doubt that it must be even more aggravating for the agnostics and atheists here. These men are running for the highest political office at a time when there are a multitude of problems. They could be addressing foreign policy, the economy, fiscal policy, banking policy, energy policy... even something low-intensity like agricultural policy would at least be appropriate. But their faith is the lead-off? This does not bode well for anyone who had hoped to see the state disentangle itself from religion (and vice versa) in the next administration.
Further, I don't understand Obama's play for evangelicals at all. Obama's efforts to reach evangelical Christians looks to me about as implausible as McCain making a push to get an endorsement from Greenpeace. The vast majority of evangelicals simply cannot be persuaded to vote for any Democrat, let alone for the man they perceive as "the black guy with the Muslim name." These evangelicals are the people sending me some of the most vile emails one can imagine. I've gotten everything from overt, blatant racism to accusations that Obama is the Antichrist. How Obama thinks he's going to reason with people like that is beyond me. Sure, there are evangelicals who aren't like that, but those evangelicals will give Obama a fair hearing without some special push. Thus, the effort strikes me as a waste of time and resources on his part.